Twitter bug caused by Turkish 'hacker'

Twitter bug wipes out millions of people's followers
Twitter bug wipes out millions of people's followers

Twitter was hacked by a Turkish 'hacker' this week, leaving many users with no followers on the micro-blogging service.

Twitter allows users to update their followers with messages of 140 characters or less.

The latest Twitter bug is understood to have been caused by a user called Bora Kırca, wiping out millions of users' accounts worldwide.

While he wasn't looking to hack the service, he did notice that a simple workaround could get anyone to follow you on Twitter.

Celeb-Twitterers hit

Twitter has moved quickly to fix the bug, but not quick enough to stop it hitting the accounts of a number of high-profile Twitterers including Oprah Winfrey, pop star Justin Bieber and Tinseltown's favourite couple Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore.

Gizmodo was first to break the news of the bug, reporting: "Follow this dead-simple guide to force any Twitter user – from Oprah (Winfrey) to (Ashton) Kutcher – to follow you. No, seriously."

It was a Turkish Twitter user that "figured out accidentally that if you tweet 'accept username,' for example billgates, then Bill Gates will follow you."

"For hours, thousands of people were able to take control of other people's Twitter accounts with a trick so easy that even the newest Twitterer could execute it," the report added.

Stephen Fry, the UK's leading 'celeb Twitterer' posted: "Do you know, I was sure I had more followers than that. Must've imagine it."

A Twitter spokesperson said about the problem: "We identified and resolved a bug that permitted a user to 'force' other users to follow them.

"We're now working to roll back all abuse of the bug that took place."

Adam Hartley